Nature in Frankenstein Essay
Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website!
Within Frankenstein, Shelley uses nature as a corrective agent for Victor Frankenstein, one of the main characters. While he is in bereavement by the murders of his friends and family members, he frequently seeks nature for relaxation and help to guide him to victory. To start with Shelley uses natural metaphors to describe Victor’s childhood. “I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources”. The use of Mountain River to describe feelings that victor holds is the beginning of a theme that is continued throughout the book.
This introduction to nature and human feeling’s, shows how Shelley would rather use metaphors of a natural setting rather than other descriptions. Instead of relating Victor’s feelings to other characters, Shelley chooses the more ‘romantic’ image of a ‘Mountain River’. As the book progresses, nature become Victors personal therapy when he undergoes torment or stress and Shelley creates a connection between Victor and nature.
Shelley describes Victor’s recovery from his grave illness through his connection with nature.
Although he is nursed by his closest friend, it is the breathing of the air that finally gives him strength. “…My health and spirits had long been restores, and they gained additional strength from the salubrious air I breathed…” Here Victor is so taken in with this he actually gains strength from the air that he didn’t have before. The use of the word ‘salubrious’ which means to bring health reinforces the idea that the air has saved him, and that nature is restorative. Throughout Frankenstein it is nature that keeps Victor healthy enough to continue on his journey. “I remained two days at Lausanne, in this painful state of mind. I contemplated the lake: the waters were placid; all around was calm, and the snowy mountains, the places of nature, were not changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I continued my journey towards Geneva” “…bright summit of Mont Blanc.
I wept like a child: “Dear Mountains! My own beautiful lake! How do you welcome your wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace or to mock at my unhappiness?” Victor’s reaction to nature and Mont Blanc provides evidence that only nature can restore Victor to health. As he gets closer to being with his family, Victor’s mood doesn’t change. His enthusiasms to the mountains are more passionate than his attitude to his family. It shows that his relationship with nature goes beyond any relationship he could have with his family or any human being. Victor is embracing nature for comfort rather than his family. He is “particularly agreeable” in moving as he cannot escape his family in Geneva who are “irksome”. He makes it clear that he would rather row a boat on a lake than be with people. His use of the word “free” implies that he is only free when he is with one with nature.
Rather than being forced to be with his family, he sees this as imprisonment more than anything. This provides evidence that he can only find peace by taking a boat onto the water so he can be alone with nature. Another character that results to nature is Elizabeth. She is a close family friend and she and Victor get married as Victor’s father thinks this would be the best thing to do in these circumstances. On their wedding night Victor is in such a foul mood that, Elizabeth resorts to nature in an attempt to cheer him. “Observe how fast we move along, and how the clouds which sometimes obscure, and sometimes rise above the dome of Mont Blanc, render this scene of beauty still more interesting”.
Her use of nature demonstrates her understanding that Victor has rejected humanity and adopted nature. However her attempt is too late as Victor has sunk too deep in despair to be cheered up even by nature Nature is far more important to Victor’s health than any other agent in the story, and the image of natural settings become excessive as Frankenstein unfolds. While Victor claims to be destroyed by the monster’s murdering of his friends and family, he seems to be drawn to nature for support, and not his friends or family. His obsession with nature seems more and more constant as he hides from humanity. Shelley makes extensive use of nature as the source of stability for Victor in a world that he has himself undone.